Today I played a game with my classmates in Communications. We were given pictures, back side up, and at once we were to flip the picture over and look at what was there, every detail, because we didn’t know what would be relevant. Then, we had to walk around and find the people who had matching or similar pictures, then line everyone in the class up in the order we perceived from the stories told in the pictures.
This was a complex game, but a fun one – it required everyone to talk to everyone else, and for all of us to work together, despite knowing whether or not that help would cause problems for us later on. I noticed that my classmates didn’t seem to have any problem walking up to other people and talking. Fortunately, I have had some practice with walking up to groups of people I didn’t know and talking to them, but even still it’s not my natural state. I like to be a quiet observer when the people are not people I know, or know well.
We did manage as a group to correctly identify the order the pictures went in, but I admit that where I was impressed was how this group interacted with each other despite us barely knowing each other. I’m sure there were others who privately felt the way I did, but overall no one showed any stalling or unwillingness.
I remember being in school in Wyoming, and how different it was. The competitiveness, the petty tyranny, bullying and the blind eyes that didn’t notice. I was self-sufficient because I didn’t have anyone in my class to rely on. That changed somewhat in high school when I finally found a few friends, but by then I was trained that fellow students were more likely to cheat off of you or intimidate you than to befriend you.
I look at these differences in culture and it makes me sad. I know I can’t have been the only bullied kid in my class, but because I felt so separated from everyone, I never found anyone else that had the same experiences. Now I’m surrounded by kids who take including everyone for granted, and I feel that old suspicion rise in me, despite the fact that zero people are behaving the way I grew up.
I hope that these culture changes will stick around. I like the idea of a world where people believe it’s entirely natural to help other people out, rather than get one over on them. I like thinking that there will be a day when people will be considered equal, instead of sighing over political correctness. I like to think we will make it over the hump of the job losses sustained due to automation of jobs. I want to believe that this culture will make the necessary changes to push us forward, instead of pulling us backwards. I thought I knew what the world would be like, but now I see that I don’t know what’s in store and that’s okay.